Rosemary Arneson Interview

(Can you state your name and position?)

-My name is Rosemary Arneson and I am the university librarian, I am the “head honcho”. I supervise everything at the Simpson library and I over see at the Stafford campus library.


(Can you summarize your involvement with the HCC?)

-I’ve been at Mary Washington A little over five years. By the time I got here the planning for the project was very far along and we had not yet started the actual construction but the building design was there. So my role was coming in and providing some library expertise. I’ve done a lot of work at previous institutions looking at what kinds of furniture students like what kind of studying and collaboration activities. So I was able to contribute some advice and guidance on that part of the project and also talking about how the library would interface with the Harley convergent center. We knew from the outset there would be a bridge between the two buildings and really wanted to make it feel as seamless as possible: moving from the convergence center to the library and back to make an easy transition.


(How do you feel about the bridge between the HCC and Simpson?)

I’ve joked that in some ways the bridge becomes a time tunnel between 2015 and 1989 because you walk across the bridge in your back and Simpson library which was built and 89′ and a lot of the furniture still looks that way, so “Back to the Future”.The one thing I would change is to finish in that walkway it’s just bare concrete and I think he could look better and I hope in time will be able to address not only as a functional space but as a way to connect the two buildings it is great. I see a lot of students walking from one building to the other I think when we first open the building it was fun to watch students and faculty go “I can get in the library?”, that’s been fun and I think the students appreciate the connection between.


(What features best showcase the buildings potential?)

-I think the space in the HCC that I am proudest of and shows the most potential of the library working in convergence with the conversion center is the digital archive lab. We knew that’s what we wanted and we specked out equipment, I never dreamed it would turn into such a big part of the libraries operation. Since we open the digital archiving lab we’ve had the biology department come over and want to digitize there herbarium collection, we’ve had interests from classics that have some artifacts that they would like to digitize, and of course working on our archival materials and with the class you’re involved in working with the National Park Service with some of their artifacts and some of the Civil War diaries they have and it has just taken off in been amazing what we have been able to do with that space. Plus I think it has the best view of the building.


(How do you see the building being used in 10 years?)

-I think so some of the furniture colors might start to look dated in five years or so. But I think the physical infrastructure of the building is set so that it can be adapted as technology may change, and furniture something that you can live with or you can live with something for 26 years that we have at Simpson library and Hope for refreshment somewhere along the line.


(Any last thought on the HCC?)

-I think that the conversion center and the library connection has been such a strong partnership we are working closely with the people in DT LT, with the writing and speaking center, with the Center for teaching excellence and innovation, and with the IT colleagues on how we can make a better holistic service for students and faculty and I think that’s great. We worked great with each other when we were separated and separate buildings but it’s a lot easier when you’re just neighbors get together very easily have a cup of coffee and Blackstone’s, but maybe Blackstone is my favorite part.